In the six years since the Health and Healthcare Research Strategy "Investing in Research, Improving Health" was launched, we have seen a number of significant developments in the area of health research.
The dual role of the NHS in supporting the health and wealth of the population has never been more apparent or important. Health research is one of this country's key strengths, and it is essential that we utilise this national resource to the fullest.
This document sets out our ambition for the next five years and how we can support Scotland to be renowned as a health science nation on the international stage.
I am pleased at the progress we have seen in NHS Research Scotland, both in terms of delivery and its ethos of partnership working. Colleagues in industry speak highly of the spirit of collaboration that exists and value the business-like approach to the management of a complex research environment. Having invested significantly in infrastructure posts over recent years, we now move to focus more clearly on delivery for that investment. This document sets out the next steps in this ambitious programme.
Equally ambitious is our plan to enhance our informatics capacity and capability. Perhaps the single biggest change since the publication of the previous Strategy has been the recognition of the importance of utilising NHS electronic data for research purposes. Scotland already leads the world on this front and we must remain in that enviable position. What is initially done through research frequently informs the patient care of the future, and I am determined NHSScotland works in partnership with academics and industry to harness the full potential of health informatics to drive up quality, effectiveness and safety of health care. Ensuring Scotland remains at the forefront of new technologies is critical if we are to deliver an NHS that is both effective in delivering high-quality care, and efficient with limited resources. Informatics and personalised medicine are key to this ambition, and I am determined that, through research, the NHS will evidence the value of these new technologies.
Taken together, the aims in this document set out an ambitious agenda for change. They will require new ways of working and a new approach to how we go about our business. That is why we have called the new strategy "Delivering Innovation through Research", recognising the key role research has in the identification and adoption of innovation. I am committed to supporting the Chief Scientist Office in achieving these aims. Since its creation 41 years ago, CSO's role in that process remains of critical importance.
Ms Shona Robison
Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport